"It bears acknowledging that Drunken Boat 24 arrives in the wake of a substantial loss," opens Nick Potter's editorial to the comics section of the newest issue. "Amid the varied responses," he writes, "I’ve noticed a subset of my friends on Facebook who have updated their profile pictures to a black square. In our increasingly globalized, increasingly visual culture, this act seems intuitive, marking absence, marking erasure, marking the digital equivalence of donning black in mourning, marking a kind of death. In comics, the filled-black panel has often been used as contextual shorthand for death—a kind of visual euphemism in the structural language of the form."
Potter goes on to offer several panels of black squares, acknowledging the loss of famous people, those whose lives taken made news for their injustice, and for victims of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre, as well as a couple personal losses from Potter's family. "And so," he closes, "as we’ve endured so many black panels this year, it’s worth noting that, in comics, all panels, black or otherwise, are given meaning by the panels that surround them. And how we choose to fill those panels, as artists and patrons, comprises the politics with which we envision humanity."